TSA’s Instagram has hit a huge milestone! After just six years, the account this week reached 1 million followers.
TSA’s Instagram, which launched in June 2013, takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to guide travelers on their checkpoint adventure by highlighting prohibited and artfully concealed items, providing travel tips, and giving reminders about busy travel seasons. The post responsible for the 1 millionth follower was for #NationalVideogameDay.
Blogger Jay Wagner described the milestone as “awesome.” “With Instagram, we are able to share TSA’s successes to a million people,” Wagner said. “We use humor and a witty personality to get people to learn about our agency. I imagine the number of people who like spending their free time learning about government security policy is pretty low, but that is exactly what our Instagram account accomplishes. And a more prepared traveler makes our jobs easier.”
TSA’s own Curtis ‘Blogger Bob’ Burns was the voice of TSA’s Instagram until his unexpected death in 2018, the same year the account was honored with three Webby Awards. “Bob started our account, and he had an amazing knack for perfectly blending wit and humor with transportation security,” said acting Assistant Administrator for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Jim Gregory. “His legacy lives on as we continue to meet travelers where they look for information.”
Emily Bonilla-Pieton is a member of the TSA social media team and said, “The most rewarding part of our job is interacting with our followers and knowing we are able to inform and educate. We have a great platform to share the amazing catches our Officers discover at checkpoints around the country, address awareness based on social media holidays and share some of TSA’s great videos on the agency’s initiatives and travel guidance.”
Giving us a little behind-the-scenes look, Bonilla-Pieton said the brainstorming portion is a blast. “Mostly done through Skype, the team spits out ideas, terrible jokes, movie references, you name it,” she said. “Once info is pieced together, the team respectfully reviews, edits and offers honest and constructive feedback. We rely on one another to ensure we don’t cross any lines and that we stay true to the mission, which is to always inform and educate.”